“The Ivy Chelsea Garden offers tranquil al fresco dining all year and the perfect setting for any occasion.” The Ivy Chelsea Garden
When I think of The Ivy, I think VIP and celebrity hangout that inevitably comes with an overpriced bill, luckily my visit to its sister restaurant The Ivy Chelsea Garden dispelled those myths. Located on the famous Kings Road in Chelsea this botanical themed gem may not be the cheapest option around but it’s certainly not as expensive as some establishments in the SW3 postcode and London in general.
From the minute you arrive at the entrance you are greeted with the garden theme. The exterior is always beautifully decorated with extravagant displays of flora and fauna of the particular season, sometimes so oversized you can only just about see the door. The attention to detail is stunning, so much so that it’s a regular feature on many London related photos especially at Easter, Christmas, Halloween and during Chelsea Flower Show.
The plant theme is strong throughout from the busy bar just inside the entrance through to the brasserie style dining room with it’s sage green hues, burnt orange banquettes, plants of all shapes and sizes and walls decorated with botanical prints. The garden terrace room, or orangery as it may be known, is a riot of colour with bold clashing patterned furnishings, traditional Persian rugs and a hupe open fire. The outdoor terrace, which is designed like an English country garden, has so much going on with different areas to sit and dine. Pergolas covered in trailing plants, wooden park style benches, heavy metal tables and chairs with stripy furnishings and a collection of washed out green Lloyd Loom woven chairs. Depending on the season there’s either a centralised water feature or a fire pit, apparently it’s the biggest garden dining area in London.
The menu is enormous offering posh comfort food with everything from daily breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea to dinner and a weekend brunch. While it labels itself as an all-day casual dining restaurant I would be more inclined to say it’s definitely more on the sophisticated side rather than casual but then the Chelsea sets casual maybe more chic than most. When a restaurant has dishes such as shepherd’s pie, hamburger, fish and chips, baked Alaska and apple tart on it’s menu you can see why comfort food springs to mind.
Breakfast is available until 11:30 am and immediately followed by the all-day dining menu that includes light bites, starters, fish and seafood, steaks, desserts as well as five different sandwich choices and three variations of afternoon tea, both these later options are available until 5pm. The Weekend Brunch menu is just a variation of the normal menu as far as I can tell served from a slightly earlier 11am on both Saturdays and Sundays.
We sampled various dishes including the crispy Nobashi tempura prawns served with pickled mouli, cucumber, edamame and a matcha tea sauce, the burrata with garden vegetables and the sea bass, all of equal note and presentation. The piste de resistance was the dessert course and the theatrics that came at this stage. My chocolate bombe with honeycomb centre was covered in a hot salted caramel sauce by our server that melted the sphere, it was immense and perfectly complemented by vanilla ice-cream. My fellow diner’s apple tart was covered Calvados flambé and set alight table side and also served with a scoop of ice-cream.
The cocktail menu is also notable with several good options such as the Angel’s Share (a Mojito with kumquats), the Made In Chelsea (gin with lychee juice, rose syrup, lemon juice, egg white & a hint of sea salt) and top of my list for next time the Salted Caramel Espresso Martini. Of course with a posh postcode comes an extensive selection of wines with prices ranging from the reasonable to the goddamn ridiculous (like the price of the 2004 Petrus). The restaurant is very popular and the service was brisk with monochrome dressed servers rushing to and fro. The people watching is also interesting, spot the hostesses in their distinctive red dresses weaving between the plants showing a constant stream of nicely clad guests to their tables.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden is worth adding to your to-do list if you are planning a visit to London. I intend to re-visit this summer and see it in all its seasonal glory as opposed to the cold, snowy night we visited. I think an afternoon tea in the stunning garden is most definitely on the cards.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Location: 195 -197 King’s Road, London SW3 5EQ
Telephone: 020 3301 0300
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 8am – 11pm, Sunday 9am – 10pm
Stations : Sloane Square (Circle & District Lines) or South Kensington (Piccadilly & District Lines)
All the views are all my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2018. All rights reserved. Additional photos and featured image used with courtesy of theivychelseagarden.com